Sarah Cooper is certified pilates instructor and nutrition student from Sydney. Through her website Scoopitup, she expresses her passion for holistic health and wellness by hosting online and in-person pilates classes, developing nutritious recipes, and sharing her knowledge and experience with developing your mind, body and spirit.
Pilates has many health benefits, which include improved flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks (the ‘core muscles’ of your body), improved posture, improved physical coordination and balance, increased body awareness and stress management and relaxation.
Today she has shared one of her mat workouts with us with 12 different exercises.
Do each exercise for 45 secs, 4 rounds through.
Note: breathing pattern inhale through nose, exhale out mouth. Small and controlled movement is important! Ankle weights are optional xx
1. Leg Lift
Working the glutes- start on all 4s, draw the belly button towards your spine and extend one leg long behind you, lengthen through the leg, spread fingers wide, lifting leg up and down squeezing glutes at the top (alternate legs each round).
2. Fire Hydrant
Staying on all 4s, drop down onto one forearm and keeping knee bent, draw out opposite knee to the side, squeezing your glutes and obliques and lower down.
3. Side Plank Crunch
Lift up into your side plank spreading the fingers wide and lifting up through the waist. Extend your bottom leg long and crunch toward your bottom knee and extend back out. Repeat and swap sides each round.
4. Glute Bridge
Keep heels close in towards your hips and relax the ribs and upper body. Exhale and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips, lengthening through the front of the quads and knees and tap the hips back down
5. Glute Bridge March
Keep your hips lifted and lift alternating legs into table top (knee over hip). Keep the hips lifted and in line, if you like, take your hands to your hipbones so you can monitor any changes
6. Glute Bridge Leg Lift
Holding your hips high, extend one leg up towards the sky and point your toes, lengthening through the leg, sweep down and up without dropping the hips.
Swap leg on each round
Start with your body extended out on your mat and exhale. Tuck the chin to chest and lift up onto your tailbone finding a teaser shape, scoop the belly button back towards your spine, maybe feeling a little shaky, hold momentarily and repeat.
8. Ab Curl with Leg Lift
Keep the elbows wide and hands supporting the head, inhale to prepare and exhale as you lift bringing your gaze toward your knees. As you lift, bring one leg to tabletop and then lower the head. Alternate knee with each lift.
9. Single Leg Swap
Hold your ab curl with head and shoulders lifted and reach your arms by your hips, tucking your chin down. Bring both legs into table top and start to extend one leg and switch, keep switching till timer goes.
10. Plank leg lift to knee drive
Start in a plank and take one leg and extend out back behind, you and then draw into the chest engaging your abs. Repeat without lowering that leg and swap on the other side.
11. Chest Extension
A great one for anyone at a laptop! Start laying down on your stomach with your hands out in line with your shoulders and elbows bent. Keep your neck long and inhale, take a small lift of your head and chest without lifting your neck (keep gaze to the top of the mat) trying to draw the shoulders down and back (want to turn off the upper traps!).
12. Clam with Variations
Start on your side with your hips to the back of the mat, knees in line with hips and shins stacked to the front of your mat. Take your top hand to your hip and push it away from you, finding a gap between your waist and the floor you should feel your abs engage. Flex your top foot and slowly lift up in line with the hip (without rolling the top hip) nice and slow and then slowly back down.
- variation: internally rotate your top knee to tap your bottom knee then lift back in line with the hip.
- externally rotate your heel down to your other heel and lift back in line with the hip.
- keep your top leg lifted in line with the hip and extend your leg away from you reach it long and then pull it back to the bent knee position.